Father of crash victim says B.C. isn’t doing enough to make roads safe
Melissa Mimura died on the Coquihalla Highway near Merritt in April 2017, leaving her family in Japan in mourning.
The 21-year-old UBC Okanagan student was driving back from Vancouver when an out-of-control vehicle struck and killed her as she waited with her broken down car beside the road.
Her father was back in Kelowna on Wednesday to join road safety advocates for the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims.
“In Japan we changed our traffic law and made then more strict and the number of deaths by road crash became half,” Hideki Mimura said.
“There is nothing we can do for our daughter but we don’t want to waste her painful experience,” he said. “We want to change [laws]. It shouldn’t happen to any other people.”
The seventh annual remembrance event is organized by a road safety advocate who also believes B.C. laws fall short of protecting lives.
“There are solid steps that could be taken to send the correct message to road users and to create accountability so we can start reducing these crashes,” Paul Hergott said.
Hergott citedICBC statistics that show crash numbers rose instead of dropping after the B.C. government banned hand-held device use in 2010.
There were 350,000 vehicle crashes reported across B.C. in 2017, up from 260,000 in 2013, according to ICBC.
There were 85,000 people injured in motor-vehicle-related crashes across the province in 2013, ICBC reported.
That number rose to 94,000 in 2017.
Deaths on B.C. roads peaked at 277 in 2015 and have since fallen to 255 in 2017.
Mimura hopes his appeal can save at least one life.
“All the people in British Columbia should be more careful to prevent any more tragedy,” he said.
The remembrance ceremony was also attended by first responders who related their own experiences dealing with the carnage on local roads.
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